Cleveland Browns Draft Profile: Pete Werner, LB, Ohio State

How would Pete Werner fit with the Cleveland Browns?

Many are of the opinion that the Cleveland Browns need to take a linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft.

While that may or may not be true, there are some solid prospects in this class, include Ohio State senior Pete Werner who improved dramatically in 2020.

He logged 54 tackles, broke up one pass, and forced two fumbles. His collegiate is fine, not great, but it doesn’t accurately reflect the talent he has.

Positives

Athleticism

Werner never displayed any serious athletic limitations on film, but his impressive testing was quite a surprise. He scored a 9.52 out of 10.0 Relative Athletic Score, including excellent numbers in the vertical jump and three-cone drill. Werner has fluid hips and often looks like a safety when he’s dropping into coverage.

Instincts

Werner’s read and react skills are good, but he’s also an instinctive player who can sniff out plays before they develop, whether it’s a wide run or a wide receiver screen. When the play is on Werner’s side of the field, he’s almost always involved in it.

Feel for coverage

Werner has logged a high number of snaps at slot corner, outside corner, and even free safety. He transitions well and has a good feel for route concepts and zones. Coverage is the top priority for modern linebackers, and Werner has the ability to stick with receivers, tight ends, and running backs.

Negatives

Collegiate impact

Many Ohio State fans underrated Werner during his time in Columbus, and that’s probably because he didn’t have a ton of ball production or tackles for loss. Playing with plenty of other talented athletes contributed to that, and while it’s a concern, Werner’s tape shows a player who knows what he’s doing and who has the talent to do it.

Block shedding

Werner is a physical tackler, and he does have long arms, but he isn’t great at disengaging from blocks right now. If he can add that to his game, he can take his impact to the next level.

Draft Stock

PFF mock draft simulator average draft position: 122.4

NFL Mock Draft Database average: 100

Werner doesn’t have the pedigree of Micah Parsons or Zaven Collins, and Jamin Davis’s ridiculous athletic testing will probably rocket him up draft boards, but Werner just might be the best value at the position in the entire draft. If he does go in the early fourth round, his team will be getting an instant quality starter with plenty of athletic potential left to realize.

If the Browns do decide to take a linebacker, perhaps Werner will be a good option in the middle rounds.